Definition of love has never been the same in poems, books and for people as every love story is different from one another. Similarly, the ideas about love would also not be the same and one of those ideas has been written by a famous poet William Shakespeare with the title ‘Sonnet 116’ (Shakespeare 1906). It was written in a simple structure without any complex vocabulary but with a usage of enjambment which is the continuation of a line of poem to another without pausing in between. It has a rhythm scheme abab cdcd efef gg and it can be divided into three parts: argument, change in tone and resolution (Nowak, J.2018 “Lecture 3”, Trinity College, University of Melbourne, 27 March).
The opening lines of the poem gives the readers a glimpse of the poet’s attitude as it was written in a negative tone. It can be known when he argued that there is no reason why two people who truly love each other not be together with the words “Let me not to the marriage of true minds” (Shakespeare 1906). Within the same sentence, the words ‘Let me not’ only means that he does not approve unfaithful minds getting married. The phrase ‘marriage of true minds’ is used as a metaphor for true, real love. Then he continued what love is not. He changed the word ‘alters’ to ‘alteration’ and ‘remover’ to ‘remove’ to create a rhythmic effect (Nowak, J.2018 “Lecture 3”, Trinity College, University of Melbourne, 27 March) in the sentence “Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove” (Shakespeare 1906). Essentially, it presents that true love does not change under any circumstances nor get removed by the ‘remover’ which is used as a metaphor to represent someone who fell out of love or an obstacle.
There was a change in his tone as he continued to explain what love is because he then started to define love in a positive way. He defined love as an a ‘ever-fixed mark’ once again, a metaphor for a strong, permanent point or perhaps a lighthouse with will remain unmoved despite storms or strong waves. The poem used ‘tempest’ as a metaphor for storm like situations like lovers’ arguments and difficult times (Nowak, J.2018 “Lecture 3”, Trinity College, University of Melbourne, 27 March). To expand that point, love is a feeling that does not change and “That looks on tempests and is never shaken” (Shakespeare 1906) meaning that it will remain the same even the lovers see the problem coming towards their relationship.
He uses the metaphor of the North Star to “The star to every wand’ring bark” (Shakespeare 1906) as the North Star guides lost sailors back home. The usage of the word sailor is due to the phrase ‘wand’ring bark’ which means ship or something on water which ‘height’ can be measured. The word star represents true love as it is one of the examples of beauty found in the world, which’s worth is beyond measurable and it cannot be changed as time passed unlike physical beauty and youth; meaning that “Love’s not Time’s fool” (Shakespeare 1906). The word ‘Time’ used before can be referred as a person, basically Death as the poem continued with the words “Within his bending sickle’s compass come” (Shakespeare 1906). The symbol of Death is a man with a bending sickle in his hand and he will be coming towards everyone just like the pointer of a compass is always pointing to north. Love is not the fool of time and death can only take away the lover but not the love that is shared between two lovers. It goes on beyond death and continues even after the end of the world or ‘the edge of doom’ and it can be seen in a sentence “Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks But bears it out even to the edge of doom” (Shakespeare 1906). ‘Hours and weeks’ could not change the love of lovers as it could survive till the world ends.
The poem concluded with somehow a guarantee that the definition of love that he defined is genuinely true and there is no other way to accuse him for being wrong. Him, Shakespeare is one of the most famous writers who wrote a lot of notes and in this poem, he wrote “If this be error and upon me prov’d, I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d” (Shakespeare 1906). In that sentence, it can be easily seen that he is sure of his words and alternately swore that if his words were untrue, he was never a poet as well as no man has ever experienced love before. Also, it gives readers a feeling that he placed an accuser in a position where a person could not use a word which would go against the words he wrote. Unless the accuser is experienced, his work could not be judged but once again, the phrase ‘I never writ’ is an obstacle as he already is a writer.
He closed down all opportunities to prove an error in his work with the sharp-edged word ‘never’ which always stands for an extreme measure.As a conclusion, the entire poem presents the genuine ideal of true, romantic love which will never change and will last beyond death or till the world has fallen apart with a numerous usage of metaphors. Love will also accept flaws and “Admit impediments” (Shakespeare 1906) which means that true lovers will go through storm-like problems and any obstacle laid on their way. Imagery is used to show feelings and the usage of movement to see or understand something.
But unlike imagery, the ideas of love is constant and it is something unchangeable. Therefore, due to the details provided above, I agree that there is a difference between the imagery and the ideas about love.